When people were telling me: You MUST go to Istanbul- I was just agreeing with them and never really was taking their words into consideration. I was thinking, that nothing could make me fall in love with this city: I saw so many things, why I should be shocked or impressed? To go there was the decision that I made only because of my friends: if they would be in any other city in Turkey, I would go there without any doubts.
I wasn’t expecting anything, maybe that’s why I was impressed even more. For me, Turkey was just a country where Russian-speaking tourists are coming to have rest (I am apologizing that myself I also consider this as “been to Turkey”) and that was my mistake. Yeah, I’ve been just in Istanbul and haven’t seen everything in this wonderful country, but at least I started my journey and I know that I would definitely come back.
Istanbul is wonderful. It has a magic in the air: European and Asian spirits are interweaving with each other and creating an unforgettable atmosphere. For people who have never been outside Europe, that place would feel like a different universe. I haven’t felt this to the same extent as others as I was traveling to Asia (/) and South America (), but nevertheless, I got some goosebumps of everything that was happening around.
So from blah-blah talking let me tell 5 things in Istanbul that I have visited and would definitely recommend:
It is a medieval tower with the height of approx 70 m gives you a tremendous view of Istanbul. No worries, you don’t need to climb the stairs: there are elevators that will bring you up. There is all the time the queue to go to the tower: but even though I was with the person that hates lines, we still decided to stay and didn’t regret even a minute of our wasted time: the view from the tower was breathtaking. We couldn’t stop clicking pictures: the millions of the houses, that seem endless, deep blue sea that is unbelievably perfect- you just can’t stop staring at all of this. This scenery of urban life together with the old time is creating a duet that is taking your heart forever.
It’s MUST-MUST! Cathedral built in Constantinople has a difficult history during the centuries: being a church, becoming a mosque, and nowadays it’s a museum that is welcoming people from all over the world regardless their confession. It has survived a couple of earthquakes and conquests. It impresses with its size: you can’t imagine how people without any technologies could build such an amazing monument.
I am not a specialist in the architecture so I am just able to give touristic advice:) Nevertheless, you can read more about it here: http://www.sacred-destinations.com/turkey/istanbul-hagia-sophia
I went to this place as Inferno( the movie by Dan Brown book: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3062096/) was shooted there. When I was watching this movie with my friend in one of the Korean cinemas, I promised myself that when I come back to Europe, I would definitely visit it. And I did 🙂 To tell the truth, it is a really creepy place: moisty with the smell of mustiness, dark orange light and funeral music inside. I am considering myself as a happy person, but this atmosphere almost killed even my positive vibes.
I would still recommend this place. Moreover, there are concerts organized inside the cistern: so I guess the classical music will make you feel even more.
This enormous palace was the Imperial residence of Ottoman sultans for almost 400 years. Now its one of the largest museums in Istanbul, where you can see how the sultans were living:) There are a couple of country yards, that include Imperial kitchens, treasure, audience room, arms collection, sacred relics department and etc. We spent a couple of hours (half of the day) just trying to cover all this palace and I guess haven’t seen even a half of it.
I loved the arms collection and recommend to visit it. Even being a person that doesn’t have a clue about guns, I was really impressed with them and was going around like a kid with big-big eyes.
As well as must I will recommend you the sacred relics department, as there no matter what your religion is, you are feeling this sacred feeling around. But here please be aware, that if you are wearing short skirt/shorts or too-open t-shirt you will need to cover yourself with the cloth. No worries, they will give it to you at the entrance.
–Sultan Ahmed Mosque
The Sultan Ahmed Mosque or the Blue Mosque as it usually known is historic Mosque that has been constructed in the 17h century. The architecture and interior of this Mosque are breath-taking: its really huge ( consists of five main domes, six minarets, and eight secondary domes) and all covered with more than 20,000 handmade ceramic tiles.
I am having a tricky feeling about it. I am really tolerant of any religion and respect all the people’s beliefs. Nevertheless, when I was there, I wasn’t feeling myself too comfortable. Maybe because I have been told to cover myself completely 🙂
Yeah, yeah, they dressed me up XD
Nevertheless, it’s MUST-MUST!
All these 5 places are MUST actually: if you say somebody ” I’ve been to Istanbul”, people will definitely ask you about them. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t forget that there are more terrific places. Moreover, Istanbul is not just sightseeing: it is also amazing people, that are super friendly and hospitable and so different from the stereotypes we have in our heads 🙂 All my friends that are from there such amazing people that I miss a lot that I will never understand any bad words towards Turkey and its people.
To sum up, Istanbul is wonderful: I don’t know how many days you need to see at least it for 1 %!! I spent there just my weekends, but I am in love with this city and want to come back there to experience this magic again. I don’t know whether it was the atmosphere of the city or the people that I was having around there (or maybe a good combination?? :)), but I will have this trip in my heart forever and will never ever erase 🙂